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Thursday, June 28, 2007

How to be beautiful

Beautiful people suck. Oh, all right, you don’t suck, but you do make my life miserable. Feel better?

Having been in advertising for so long I’m well aware of the power of attractive people inside an ad. I remember doing an ad for a director of a big company once. Why he wanted his picture in the ad I’ll never know. I tried to steer him into using a picture of his building instead. Nope. He wanted his mug in the ad. In the end, I Photoshopped the heck out of his picture so he looked marginally less unattractive.

The sad part was, he was a really nice guy. He just took rotten pictures. I can commiserate. I take awful pictures. Always have. I’m about as photogenic as the ass-end of a shaved cat. For that reason, I have few pictures of myself.

The weird thing about this is that in person, I’m not that hideous. It’s the camera that brings it out. Hmm…there’s a story in there somewhere.

A good photo speaks volumes, especially on the inside flap of a book cover, or a magazine interview. If you’re like me and just plain normal with shades of shaved cat in the viewfinder, here are some tips to make you more approachable.

• When photographed, stand at least 5-6 feet from the wall. If you stand too close you’ll pick up a lot of garish shadows.

• Pay attention to the background. Really dark people shouldn’t stand against a bright white wall. Pale people too will wash away in that same background.

• Ultra dark skin? Make sure your photographer is giving you plenty of ambient light so none of your features melt into black splotches.

• What’s your season? Most of us know what our best colors are. Olive skinned like me? You’re probably a winter. You’ll look best in jewel tones like emerald, cobalt and burgundy. We look good in black too. Springs are naturals for pastels. Summers: clear bright colors like lime, bright blue and white. Autumns: The rust colors, burnt orange, browns and golds.

• Avoid big patterns in your dress. You want the camera to focus on you, not your polka dots and stripes.

• ¾ view is best for a head shot. Learn which is your best side.

• Double chin? Keep your chin up and camouflage with a darker makeup underneath.

• Take a power nap before your photo shoot. You’ll not only feel better, you’ll look better.

• Things Photoshop can cure: whiten your teeth and eyes; remove blemishes and even out your skin tone. Please don’t ask the retoucher to make you thinner or give you more hair. It never looks natural.

We can’t all be beautiful, but we can sure fool a big portion of the population.


Anonymous said...

Can Photoshop take the bags out from under my eyes? Because if it can, I want it.

Maria Zannini said...

You bet! At work when we want people to look "happier" in their photos we call it Photo-botox.

Photoshop is our friend. :o)